Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A tool I can't live without!

I bought myself this thing off QVC during Christmas, on a whim. With all the chopping, and slicing, and dicing I do, sometimes I just want a little help.
This picture doesn't show all the components I have with mine, but
I sell Pampered Chef, and I SOOOO wish we sold something like this!!!
I would sell millions of them!!!
It is awesome!!!
My kids use it, it dices onions to microscopic little perfect squares,
it'll make shoestring potatoes, it is just plain ole' awesome.
All you have to remember is to wet the blade every time you take it out of your drawer. After that, the food automatically wets the blades.
I use it to cut peppers, onions, celery, zucchini, you name it... into perfect tiny squares!
It'll do big and medium squares too, just change out the handle, it is sooo easy!!!
My boys fight over who gets to use it, and I get them in the kitchen with me! Win Win!
My cornbread muffins are studded with restaurant style confetti now.
Pasta Salad looks like a party in the bowl!
Genius Nicer Dicer from QVC... other places may sell it, but you won't get as many components unless you buy it from QVC.
Try it!!

I don't have to cook tonight!!!

I don't have to cook tonight!!!
My father in law is coming over for Bill's B-day (it's Friday) and taking them out to dinner.
I am going to stay home so they can have man time.
Then they are going to go to Bill's Yankee's game, which I won't be attending because Alex isn't even here... so why watch!!!
I am going to re-arrange my pantry. I know it DOES NOT sound like fun... but actually,
there is a lot of rearranging to be done since it is so sparce now, because I cooked almost everything out of it for 3 weeks, and I looking forward to all the extra space for some appliance storage!!
As soon as I get rid of this sinus headache I have going on, I will post another Lunchbox idea.
Carry on!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Food Kebabs

A word about Kebab sticks.
I use blunt bamboo ones. You might want to check with your school and see if they are okay to use or bring to school. They come in 3 sizes...
1. toothpick
2. 6 inches
3. 12 inches.
Kids LOVE, LOVE, LOVE anything on a skewer. If you can't bring them to school, think creatively and use fishing line, string, thread, pretzels, whatever!
For example...
String some cheese cubes and tomatoes on a 6-8 inch fishing line for a lunch "necklace" or "bracelet". (no, they don't wear it... it's just a play on words)(but if your kid wants to wear cheese, hey, who am I to judge! Vive Le Difference!)
Make cheese cube 'barbells" by using a pretzel stick and sticking a cheese cube on either end.
If you can use skewers,(cut the sharp end off after the food is on it) I love skewering cheese and fruit together. Mine love Cheddar and Watermelon or Apple. (not William, mostly just Johnny now) (William likes his food normal, he's a big Jr. High kid now) or just a couple of skewers of fruit!
You can even roll up lunch meat and skewer the "sandwich" on a stick!
Encourage the kids to "play" with their food by writing down some math problems on a napkin and tell them when they use their "Skewer Abbacus" to answer the problem, they can eat the Abbacus.
Get as simple or elaborate as you wish! Kids will feel great when even lunch gives the other kids something to envy! It's not fun when the other parents call you saying how much more difficult you made life for them, but they change their tunes when their kids aren't complaining about fruit and cheese or veggies any more. It's all in how you package it! (Those same parents are the ones saying their kids won't eat anything "green" or remotely good for them)
Skewer Marshmallows and mini snickers for a cute sweet treat on Fridays. I would use a toothpick size for this one.
Cut all the cheese and fruit on one day, and just skewer them fresh each day or evening!
Thanks for reading!
Ciao Ciao!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sweet N Sour Pasta Salad

Saundra's Sweet n Sour Pasta Salad
2 lbs any shape pasta, even long pasta
Cooked and shocked under cold water to stop the cooking.
In a bowl mix together
1 cup orange juice
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp teriyaki marinade
1 package Lipton Onion Soup Mix
2 Tbs Sugar
To the pasta add,
sliced red onion
sliced red bell pepper
sliced cucumber
defrosted corn
snow peas
fresh spinach
cook chicken if desired.
Poor 1/2 the dressing over the pasta and veggie mixture.
Add more dressing just before serving, as pasta tends to soak up the dressing upon first drizzle.
I love to sprinkle toasted sesame seeds all over for an asian look.
Eat up!

Macaroni Salad

Saundra's Macaroni Salad
2 lbs elbow macaroni cooked,
drained, splashed with very cold water so it stops cooking,
and dried in a towel.
While the pasta is cooking mix together
2 cups frozen (defrosted) peas
2 cups frozen(defrosted) corn
1-2 tsp dill weed
1 cup drained and pressed sweet pickle relish
7 chopped scallions
1 finely chopped red bell pepper
2 tsp celery seed
Prepared Mustard to taste
Mayo to taste
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Mix it all together and add to cooked drained pasta.
Pasta absorbs liquid, so when you store this salad in containers in the fridge,
you may need to add a little mayo to "wet" it a bit.
Remember, this is just a recipe...
add your own twist to it and make it your own! I make enough for 5 people to grab some for a week, so adjust for your family.

Fresh Ideas for lunchboxes!

Okay, so by now, you've probably noticed that I also have a little bit of a control problem, even when it comes to my kids lunches.
I'm trying to change, but old dog, new tricks... you get the picture...
Today, I would like to discuss a little about things OTHER than sandwiches for lunch boxes.
There are a plethora of foods out there, totally appropriate for lunch that don't involve bread or lunch meat! My kids have access to a microwave for their lunch, so we add lots of hot stuff from home too, but if your kids don't have that access, then below is a great alternative.
So here goes!
Sliced Cheese and apple slices
Tuna and crackers
Pasta Salad
Macaroni Salad
Fruit Salad and Yogurt dressing
Chicken Salad in lettuce cups
Apple's and Peanut Butter
Fruit N Cheese Kabobs
Pita Sandwiches
Mini Pita Sandwiches
and on and on and on!
The tuna recipe is in a previous post. My family loves my macaroni and Pasta Salad recipes too.
What I love about them, is the amount of veggies you can add, and they last about a week in the fridge covered. The boys just take what they want in a container and cover it up for another day that week.
Recipes for those two salads in the next post!

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Sunday - Mama's Sauce and Pasta, Garlic Bread, Salad with a Tomato/Fresh Mozzarella appetizer.
Monday - Enchiladas, rice and Crispy Cinnamon Tortilla's
Tues - Meatball subs, salad (no prep necessary)
Wed. - Spinach & Mozzarella Ravioli, with Mockfredo sauce (no prep necessary) yahoo!
Thursday - Leftover Enchilada's from Monday, if there aren't any, I will make Tacos
(Prep for tacos, cook ground beef) Cheese will already be done from Monday and so will the onions.
Friday is Bill's Birthday... so we will be taking him out for his favorite meal of Pizza and Soda.
Whew... that's done...
Your turn!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008


I love this stuff for kid lunches... any lunches really. Trader Joes sells a great one. It comes in a package of six, and they are only $1.99 a package.

To make a killer wrap, start with fresh, soft Lavash. My kids LOVE Hummus spread on it, but you can spread it with herbed cream cheese, mayo, mustard, bbq sauce, ranch dressing, almost anything you like! There is a slight trick to these, your ingredients need to be small strips, so you can wrap it easily.

Then I layer on some thin slices of lunch meat, thinly sliced romaine or alfalfa sprouts, thinly sliced strips of roasted red pepper, shredded cheese, tomato, onion, shredded carrot, thinly sliced cucumber, THE SKY IS THE LIMIT!

Then just wrap it up and cut in half or into those great round wrap things you see in the Costco sandwich containers all the time.

We love them spread with Tzaziki and hummus. They are great with Tuna, Salmon, Avocado, or just roasted veggies. My faves are roasted eggplant, zucchini, onion, and feta cheese. YUMMY!

I don't know what they taste like with Peanut Butter and Jelly, but heck! Try it!

This all also works with Tortillas, but once tortillas aren't fresh, they aren't pliable any more, and they tend to crack and are messy. Lavash is more forgiving. I get two lunches from one rectangle, for my younger boys. Will eats a whole one... 14, hollow leg, you get it.

Let me know when/if you try them!


Favorite LunchBox Sandwich

Making great lunches takes... you guessed it...organization. Make a list of foods you know your kids love and keep it going as they discover new foods.
Here is exactly what I keep on hand at all times for the kids lunches
Romaine Lettuce
Alfalfa Sprouts
Roasted Red Peppers in water
Balsamic Vinegar
Honey Roasted Turkey Breast
Albacore tuna in water
Alaskan Salmon (canned)
Italian Dressing
Peanut Butter
Assorted Jams Celery
Now, I know... it looks kinda weird, not very kid friendly... but I am telling you, when I tested my sandwiches by giving my kids a half of one give to a classmate (with parental permission of course) the kids LOVED them.
Oh! and NO! Those ingredients are not for one sandwich. Ha ha!
Here is a typical sandwich for my boys...
Whole Wheat roll or 6 in. sub roll
On one side I put balsamic vinegar, on the other I put a little mustard
(we don't like Mayo, if you love it... use it!)
them a layer of thinly sliced romaine lettuce
the lunch meat
a roasted red pepper slice or tomato slices
and a little more lettuce or some alfalfa sprouts. (if the tomato or peppers touch the bread, it gets soggy, so I layer up the lettuce to keep the bread drier.)
Cut in half and wrap in Press n Seal or foil.
The Balsamic vinegar just makes anything taste better. It's tangy, sweet, and just plain yummy. Notice there wasn't cheese. My boys aren't big "cheese in sandwich" lovers, but if your's do... GO FOR IT!
Sometimes when I am out of lettuce, I will thinly slice some cucumbers and layer them on the sandwich.
More later!


I know the school year is almost over, but our kidlets still need to be fed,
whether they are in school or not.
Ever since Will started school way back when, 10 years ago, I have been searching and experimenting with different ways to make good, eatable, healthier sack lunches.
Since my three kids are in private school, tuition is something I will pay, but I refuse to pay the $5 per child for them to eat a hot lunch at school on top of that! I did the math, and it would cost me $4200 a year for them to eat hot lunch every day.
My money tree never took root when I tried planting it years and years ago.
So now I save "hot lunch rewards" for very special occasions, or if I just really didn't want to make lunches the night before. My kids aren't as thrilled as I thought they would be.
I made sure to buy Parents, Child, and all those other magazines to see what the "new food" set is making for their kids lunches.
I was not impressed.
I don't like to brag...
(oh heck, who am I kidding, YES I DO! And you do too!)
but my kids have pretty sophisticated palates.
They like standby's but also really enjoy it when I make sandwiches that have a that little something extra. I love it when teachers and parents stop me and say "Are you the Mama that makes all those gourmet sandwiches?" I just smile and say "Heck yeah!"
So the next few days or weeks, this blog will be dedicated to filling your kids lunchboxes and tummies with food that you might not have thought of as lunch box fare. TRUST ME!
I am going to tell you what works here in my home, and you can take what you like, and leave the rest behind.
I do want to tell you, that just because your child may not like something this week or month, doesn't mean he/she won't like it at a later date, so in the beginning, buy small amounts of the new food, and try it a couple of different ways. You'll save your money and your sanity if you aren't buying in bulk just yet.
I will be posting on the sidebars, some items I buy and have on hand all the time to make an impromptu lunch in a pinch, and I am going to list some common storage items I have on hand to make lunches easy to pack. Once again, before you buy in the 500 packs of small 2 oz. dip cups like I do, make sure your child likes to eat the food items.
So, on we go... delving into the highly competitive world of school lunch boxes.
Our goal... to make our lunches so nutritious and great tasting, that OTHER kids will be begging your child to trade them, and your child, knowing what a hot commodity he/she has, wouldn't dream of letting go of their lunch.
I have spies at school, making sure my kid don't trade, and I am happy to report, they don't.
Trading is highly comdemned in most schools these days anyway... but being the control freak I am, I placed a few little extra insurances.
I hope you all enjoy the next few posts.
Thanks Kim for suggesting it to me!
Ciao for now!

Friday, April 25, 2008

We're havin' company!!!

We're having company tonight!!!
I have a cousin visiting from Pittsburgh, PA,
and she and her hubby are going to come over for dinner tonight!!!
So, on tonights menu we are having
New York Steak BBQ'd to perfection by Bill the grill guy,
Oven Roasted Potato quarters with onions and mesquite rub,
Fresh Asparagus spears roasted with a Balsamic reduction
Corn on the cob and
My Mama's freshly made peanut butter cookies and coffee.
Gosh, I hope they aren't vegetarians all of a sudden! hee hee
Gotta clean this monstrosity of a house now...
Company's comin'!

We get to eat around the table now!!!

Basketball is OVER!!!
Why is that significant in a cooking blog??
Because now, my routine is a little more manageable. I won't be waiting until 5 p.m. at school every. single. day for practice, or schlepping all over So Cal to attend games. Don't get me wrong, it was a blast... but 3 months of it is exhausting, not to mention sad that we didn't get to eat together as a family very much.
But all of that is about to change!!!
I am not going to know what to do with myself now that we are gonna be home at 3:45 p.m. most days!!! Yahoooo!
So to celebrate, I am going to make my family's favorites this weekend.
Homemade Pizza
Blueberry pancakes
Jammin Chicken and Mashed taters
Whew... I'd better get started.
This morning, as a celebration of our liberation and the fact that all my men are Tae Kwon Do Black Belts as of last night, I told my kids they can buy lunch at school. They rarely get to do this. I've realized that you can really tell the kids of a Mama that cooks all the time.
I was all excited to tell them they could buy lunch today... and all three of them said...
"Awww Mom! WHYYYYYYY!"
Johnny said "Great... now I get to choose from barf tater tots, barf pizza, or stupid cup o noodles"
I loved it!
I used to feel the same way about having to eat at school... my Mama was a gourmet lunch maker.
I will post what kind of lunches I send my kids to school with soon. I am always scouring magazines for great lunch ideas for lunchboxes.
Ciao bella's!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Dinner tonight!

Tonight dinner... yes I'm cooking... is Costco's yummy Spinach and Mozzarella Ravioli, Salad, and garlic bread.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

MMM...Egg Salad

Tonight was dinner out... I know!!! I can't believe it!
Twice in a month!!!
We had 2 basketball games, a baseball practice, and testing for TaeKwonDo, all tonight. We leave in 10 minutes for TKD, so I couldn't do it.
I did, however boil a dozen eggs today.
We are trying to stay away from lunch meat, because of all the sodium in it, and since it is getting warmer, my ankles just swell up like a sponge.
So I made boiled eggs for egg salad sandwiches for lunches this week. I use one egg yolk in it for every 4 egg whites, to keep the cholesterol down.
I feed the yolks to my dogs (one each) and discard the rest.
My egg salad recipe
12 eggs (12 egg whites and 4 yolks)
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish (drained)
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp celery seed
1 small onion finely chopped
2 ribs celery finely chopped
pinch of salt and pepper
Mayo to taste
Mix and store in a sealed container.
Toast some good bread and enjoy!
Mangia Bene!
Eat Well!

Monday, April 21, 2008


Lemons are in season, so are limes, and when the summer gets here,
the prices will be way too high to warrant buying them in bulk.
So why not take advantage of the abundance the season has to offer us and pick or buy
lemons now... squeeze them all at once, and freeze the juice for yummy
lemonade for the summer?
Limeade is my favorite. I love the intense tang. Costco has big bags of lime right now, and they smell so wonderful! Before I juice them, I grate little of the rind and freeze it separately, so I can add it to the juice when I make it. It lends a great picante to the blend.
I use frozen strawberries or blueberries as ice cubes too. So yummy!
I am gonna juice today, and put the juice into freezer trays.
I love putting a cube or two into a freshly made vegetable soup
or stew for that final zing needed to blend it all together.
You can candy your lemon rind too.
Make sure to buy organic or home grown if you are going to do this.
To candy rind you need...
Equal parts sugar and water
brought to a boil.
Drop in rind and simmer until just opaque,
Take out of syrup and dry on wax paper. I like to dredge them, wet, in superfiine sugar.
When they are dry, put them in a jar or vacuum pack.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sausage Bake

Bill is working out of town overnight this weekend, so my cooking isn't going to be what it normally is. I don't know why... but it doesn't feel right without him here, around dinner time.
Last night, after the funeral, I took the boys out to Soup Plantation for dinner. I was wiped.
Tonight, it's gonna be Sausage and Cornbread for dinner, with a twist. I'm gonna put the sweet, Aidells chicken and apple sausage INSIDE the cornbread and make it a meal in one pot.
Since the sausage, (from Costco, really yummy) is fully cooked, I just slice it up or chop it up. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the organic Cornbread mix from Trader Joes, so I make a batch of that,
Then I add defrosted corn, chopped red bell pepper,
and green onion to the batter,
drop in the sausage and bake in a PC stone until it is golden brown!
Viola! Instant "sausage dogs"! Add a salad and you're done!
You can add zucchini, jalapeno, hotdogs if you don't have sausage, meatballs, tofu,
Switch out what you like!
Buon Mangare!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pacific Natural Foods... yummy!

Can we talk?

I can't say enough about this soup.

I am not a great soup maker, and this soup is so good, it doesn't matter.

I buy it at Smart N Final and it's only $2.39.


The soup above is the same exact soup I served with salad last night, and the boys wanted to lick their bowls. (of course, I didn't allow them to!)

Sometimes I add frozen, cooked shrimp to it as it's heating up. I also sometimes add frozen corn, or chopped up avocado after we dish it up.

Sometimes, I add it to another soup I am making to add some pizzazz!

Try it!

You'll love it!


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tonights dinner was...

Got home at 5:15 from basketball practice after school.
I really wanted all of us to sit down together to eat before the game tonight, so I had an epiphany.
I had tuna, lettuce, tomatoes, and awesome boxed, low sodium, organic soup from Smart n Final we adore, and some crusty bread.
I was in business!
We made a quick, HUGE, bowl of Italian Tuna Salad, I heated up the soup in a snap and cut the bread. For dessert we had sliced watermelon, and the men were out the door for the game with time to spare. I am staying home from the game with swollen ankles.
Soup and Salad can make a meal! My hubby loved it, and said it was just enough
and he didn't feel sluggish.
I am cooking for a friends dad's funeral this week, and forgot to post my menu. So I am cookin for the family on the fly this week.
You know how it is.
Have a wonderful evening.

Tuna, Italian Style

Since I am the product of Italian Immigrants, our house NEVER had Mayo in it.
So imagine my surprise when I started school, and bringing my own lunches, to notice that the other kids had a thick, white, globby substance smeared all over their sandwiches and that same stuff was what held tunafish sandwiches together.
I am not a fan.
If you are... great. Try this recipe anyway.
Not in a sandwich, of course, but as a great, light dinner, with a yummy soup and some crusty bread.
t needs to be eaten right away, so make the lettuce part ahead and add the dressing just before serving.
Italian Style Tuna Salad
2 cans albacore tuna in water
1/2 hot house cucumber or 1 whole regular cucumber, sliced
2 sliced roma tomatoes or a handful of grape tomatoes
1/2 thinly sliced red onion
2 ribs chopped celery
radishes, sliced if desired
Sprinkle with Balsamic vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
celery seed
and grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
Serve immediately!
Buon Mangare!
Good eating!

Bag some Salad today!

A really easy way to get dinner ready in a flash is to stock up on bagged salads, precut strips of carrot and red cabbage in a bag to give the bagged salad some color and more nutrients.
My friend Angela makes AWESOME salads.
Since having hers, I have been adding corn, pea pods avacado, croutons etc. to our ready made salads.
The trick to these salad bags is making sure no air gets into that bag after it's opened. Air is the enemy in this case.
I also love buying the hearts of Romaine from Costco. You get 6 for a couple of bucks and they are crunchy and take a long time to turn brown. I use one heart a night for salad.
Cherry tomatoes are a great buy. They make a great snack with ranch and look beautiful on a salad.
I also buy those from Costco. You get so much more for the money.
Bagged Salad... its a smart, fast, simple, thing!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Love Pasta?

Love Pasta, but don't know any other sauce to put on it other than red sauce?
No worries!!!
Here is a Mock Alfredo sauce that has gotten me out of a jam more than once.
Fettucine Mockfredo
1/2 cup butter
6 oz cream cheese (I use Marscapone)
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano or Romano cheese
In small sauce pan, heat butter until melted. Add cream cheese and milk, until melted.
Stir in grated cheese
Cook on low heat until thickened.
Serve over freshly cooked and drained pasta.
(please, please, please never ever rinse your pasta unless you are using it in a cold salad and you need it to stop cooking)
I like to add frozen peas or fresh cut asparagus to this recipe while it is thickening.
Add shrimp to make it fancy shmancy.
There is something so soothing about Fridays.
Even though I don't work outside the home... I still look forward to Fridays.
Maybe it's all the possibilities, culinary or otherwise.
This weekend, because the weather is so wonderful...I am going to experiment a little bit in the kitchen.
I don't bake... at all... but this weekend, I am going to make cookies, healthy versions of some favorites.
I am on the Flax Seed Meal kick and have been adding it to everything, scones, bread, pizza crust, everything...
It adds 10g of fiber per Tablespoon.
AND it's tastes great. Johnny eats it dry, right out of the bag. Weirdo.
So I am gonna make Peanut Butter, Lemon Tea, and Black Forest Chocolate Crinkles.
And if you are lucky... I'll send some over to ya!
Recipes for the cookies in later posts!
Remember to set up your prep time for next week. Even if you get just one thing done in advance, you are that much farther ahead.
I didn't know having onions all ready to go for the week could be so freeing! Proof positive I really need to get a life. A real one.
Ciao Ciao!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Pantry Raid is Over!

Okay... so last night was the first time in 8 days or since I had gone to the grocery store.
My pantry has really emptied.
Last night after our baseball game, I drove straight to the store and stocked up on fruit, veggies and milk.
I only spent $56.03 and I think it will last me almost all week.
Raiding my pantry made me see all the frozen fish and chicken I still have in my freezer. Plus, I have lots of pasta left too!
Tonight is Pancake night.
Here was my strategy for spending so little...
I scoured the Stater Bros flyer,
only bought items I use that were on severe sale, and didn't go hungry or thirsty.
So I got (5lbs) apples at 50 cents a pound
oranges (5lbs) at the same price,
bean sprouts (2 bags)
shredded cabbage (2 bags)
whole head of cabbage
onions (5)
romaine lettuce (3)
2 gallons of milk
whole wheat bread
(I hate how much they charge for 100% whole wheat bread)
2 bottles of dressing (Ken's Steakhouse)
light sour cream
dishwashing liquid
magic erasers
bell peppers
So my challenge is to incorporate these items into my menu for the week.
I am really trying to pare down our grocery expenditures to $100 per week.
More on how another day...

To Kim in Texas

Kim, you have not only made my day... you have made my year thus far.
You have NO idea how your words resonated with me today.
I immediately called my hubby and (while crying tears of joy) read him your comment.
I never, ever, ever, ever knew how much of a RUSH it could be for someone to READ me.
I cannot describe it.
My husband has been bugging and prodding me to write a book for 10 years, and today he said
"See! Will you at least take her word for it?"
If and When I do write it, Kim... I will put your name in the credits along with my loved ones.
Sometimes it takes a stranger to make you see what your heart truly wants to do.
You may be learning from me, Kim, but I may have just started a new path to my life... because of you!
Thank you... Thank you... Thank you!
P.S. Never apologize for using your microwave. If it keeps you and your kids out of the fast food line... bravo!
P.P.S I, too, have just thrown stuff into the microwave and called it dinner... the trick is to not do it every single night.


Thirteen of my favorite kitchen tools!
1. Spatulas
2. Stainless steel bowls
3. Genius Nicer Dicer
4. Pampered Chef knives
5. PC bamboo spoons
6. Stoneware Bar Pan
7. Staub Cast Iron Dutch Oven
8. Off set spatula
9. Tongs
10. Family Skillet
11. Rice Cooker Plus
12. Prep Bowls
13. Salad Spinner
Tag! You're IT!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Black Forest Crinkle Cookies
adapted from Cuisine at Home
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp table salt
1/2 stick (4 Tbl) unsalted butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 egg
1 tsp instant coffee granules dissolved in 2 Tbl hot water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup dried tart cherries
3/4 cup powdered sugar
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a 2-cup microwave-safe measuring cup, melt the butter in 15-30 second increments.
Add the cocoa and whisk until smooth.
Whisk in the egg, coffee and vanilla.
Add the chocolate mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips and cherries.
Chill dough until firm enough to work with.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Shape dough into balls and roll in powdered sugar.
Place 2" apart on prepared baking sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes, or until cookies are cracked, yet still soft. Do not overbake. Leave cookies on the pan for a minute or so until they set, and then slide the parchment onto a rack so that the cookies can cool completely. Or eat one while it's still warm and gooey. I did.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

New Products I love!

I have found some awesome new to me products in the last few months and I wanted to share!
1. Sweet Chili Sauce... may favorite is from Trader Joes
2. King Arthur Hard flour... its truly the best to bake bread with!
3. Cinnamon flavored White Tea... O. M. G.! Comes in tea bags only... wow!
4. Costco's seasonings in the great looking "Dean & Deluca" ish tins.
5. Penzey's Spices online... I buy all my salt there now... I only use Rock Salt.
6. Pampered Chef's Greek Rub... yummyyyy!
7. Ken's Steakhouse dressing..Any of them... they are wonderful!
8. Trader Joes Lavosh.. not new to me... but so great!
9. Pama Pomegranate Liqueur... just a splash make Sprite sing!
10. Trader Joes dried Mangos... Hello, my name is Saundra, and I am an addict.
That's all for now!!! Letti, Trader Joes field trip soon! Name the time! I'll drive!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Awesome Sauce for dipping or over chicken!

Saundra's Concoction
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp teriyaki marinade
Mix well and place in fridge until ready to serve!

Sunday, April 06, 2008


I am still working on my pantry raid. Almost done.
My Mama brought a trough of Homemade Pasta Sauce today,
and I portioned it out to 7 meals. I gave one away, and hopefully,
if Angela takes me up on it,
I will give another one away.
Any other takers?? I am happy to oblige! We get this sauce all the time!
So this week, in no particular order, depending on my mood and time allowed... we are having
Peanut butter/honey baked Chicken, peas, and salad
Meatball sandwiches, salad
3 bean Mexican Chicken Chili, cornbread
Whole Wheat Pancakes, orange juice, frozen/defrosted strawberries
Swordfish steaks, fresh salsa, salad, homemade bread
That's all for now... I'm gonna go crochet now. I'm prepped out.


Get out your knives,
your onions
your veggies!
Cook that chicken up,
Brown that meat!
Mix that dressing!
Make some pancakes, and refrigerate them for easy, quick breakfasts!
Have some breakfast for dinner tonight!
Use those tortillas in your fridge as wraps!
Use Lettuce as "bread"!
Make up a batch of tuna salad for the week,
and put some in the kids lunches with crackers for a "different" lunch!
Pick one and run with it! You'll be glad you did!
This weeks a busy one!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Baby... it's cold outside!

Chicken Vegetable Alfredo Soup
1 cup of chopped carrots 1 cup of chopped celery 1 onion, chopped 2 cloves of garlic, pressed 2 – 3 cups of chopped, cooked chicken (can use canned) 32 ounces of chicken stock 1 jar (16 ounces) of Alfredo Sauce noodles (1/2 package or as little or much as you like!) Chop vegetables and put in pot. Pour in Chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer until vegetables are tender. Add noodles. After noodles are cooked, stir in 1/2 bottle of Alfredo Sauce. Simmer 5 minutes until heated. If desired, sprinkle with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Dinner...the sequel

I checked out my rapidly dwindling freezer (yay!) and found some Tilapia steaks, frozen peas and whole wheat rolls.
So I'm gonna add the broccoli I have in the fridge, and some CousCous I have in the pantry and make a meal.
I'm going to make the CousCous with chicken stock and flavor it with peas, craisins, scallions and slivered almonds.
The Tilapia will be lightly breaded and the broccoli will be the Tilapia's "bed" along with copious amounts of onions, and this great smoky seasoning from Costco. I'm going to roast the broccoli and onions in the oven for about 20 minutes then place the Tilapia on top of it for the last 10 minutes. Viola, dinner is served!
I have decided to make pizza dough again, on Saturday... so Letti, you are more than welcome to join me, and anyone else that wants to, can too! Oh, I wish I had some squash flowers to put on a pizza. YUM! I am going to make "white" pizza's again... that means no sauce.
Sunday will be Pasta, and homemade bread with a Salad. I have a show that day... so I will make the bread on Saturday and just put it in the fridge to rise overnight.
Happy prepping and eating!
Tip for the weekend... Try to cook one more meal at home than you normally would this weekend. Calculate what you would have spent on a meal out, and PUT THAT MONEY IN YOUR SAVINGS ACCOUNT!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Too little day, not enough time!

I am not doing very well with my goal this week.
It is 8:58 p.m. and I just got home from my day. I DON'T WORK OUTSIDE THE HOUSE!!!
Alex had a play this morning, then I had to get my nails done... it's been 3 weeks between fills, my hands looked more like claws, then I had to wash Will's basketball uniform then it was time to get them from school. Basketball game and Tae Kwon Do after school and dinner all rolled into one.
Today sucked!
No time to breathe!
Now I have to get the men to bed...
I feel like I just woke up!
So my goal was to cook out of my pantry, and I just couldn't today... I feel so wiped!
Tomorrow, a gourmet-ish meal from the freezer and pantry. I promised the men.
I have to do it.
Brava to Angela for only buying what she knew her family will actually eat!!! yahooo!
The money we are gonna save is astounding!!! No more waste!!!
Have a great day!
Ciao, Ciao!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Last Nights Dinner part 2

I was a bad Mama.
Overwhelmed, no sleep and a lot to do before my show...
SO! The kids ate Pizza and leftovers from my show for dinner.
Tonight, it's CousCous, baked Tilapia and Salad.
The Tilipia is frozen, but delicious.
I just bake it in the oven over broccoli with a splash of olive oil and a little dash of salt.
The I season it on our plates with a little Oriental Hot Sauce, I tasted at DeeDee's house during Pictionary one night. I have been addicted to it ever since.
I still haven't run out of food. I think I have 7 or 8 dinner left in the pantry and freezer.
On I trudge!
How are you doing?
Has anyone tried doing this, even for one night?
Remember... comment = love. :)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Last nights Dinner

Well... I did it.
I ravaged my cupboards, fridge and freezer and came up with dinner.
I had to make dinner at noon yesterday, because we had a basketball game (away) and a baseball game later that evening. SSOOOO, I made my famous Jammin Chicken, peas, salad and my Mama's homemade carrot cake for dessert. I packed it all up in a cooler, complete with paper plates, cup, drinks etc... and we ate it at the baseball park on a picnic table before my shift at the snack bar and Bill's baseball game.
Saundra's Jammin Chicken
6 chicken breasts butterflied
1 onion, chopped
1 cup wine
1/2 - 1 cup Apricot Pineappple Jam
1 TBS butter
Place chicken breasts in a pan on stove to brown. Add a tiny bit of olive oil if it seems too dry. Chicken should be skinless. You can use any cut of chicken you like. I sometimes use legs and thighs, skinless.
When chicken is cooked through, take out of pan and place on dish, add onion to chicken juices and saute until soft and lightly browned.
Add wine and jam and stir to combine. Cook until wine has reduced to half and add chicken back into the pan, including the juices from the dish.
Simmer for about 5-7 minutes, at last second, add butter to enrich the sauce and serve.
We love it over mashed potatoes, with a side of peas and a salad.
I didn't have a cool snack for the kids at the basketball game, so I improvised and made celery and peanut butter sticks. They LOVED them! Next time... they want raisins on them, like ants on a log. William, 14 and too cool for me, looked at the celery and just laughed. I told him to "relive" his childhood now that he is a big strong man. He downed them in seconds.
I just went shopping this morning and only got necessities, and am going to make another
"mystery meal' tonight. It was really hard just buying a few things, but I knew it would be good for my pantry and my wallet.
I spent 26.00 for the week. Not bad, huh?
Have a great day!